How to Handle Holiday Meals When You Have Acid Reflux

How to Handle Holiday Meals When You Have Acid Reflux

Holidays feasts contain all kinds of foods that could trigger a bout of acid reflux. But if you plan ahead of time, you can enjoy meals and celebrations with friends and family this holiday season without dealing with the pain of acid reflux.

Expert bariatric surgeon Michael Sutker, MD, diagnoses and treats conditions that impact your gastrointestinal tract, from Crohn’s disease to ulcerative colitis. One of the most common conditions we treat is acid reflux, which affects about 20% of the population in the United States.

If you struggle with acid reflux, our team at Michael Sutker, MD, PA, in Dallas, Texas, and McKinney, Texas, have pulled together a few tips to help you sail through holiday feasting with ease.

Sample, don’t binge

During the holiday season, tables are laden with foods that you don’t normally eat. The sight of so many tempting treats might prompt you to grab a big platter and dive in. Instead, pick up a smaller plate and sample just a bit of each dish rather than scoop up an entire serving. 

Sticking to small samples allows you to tickle your tongue and enjoy the many varied culinary delights of the season. Small portions are also more manageable for your digestive tract.

Go slow

When you eat too quickly, you risk triggering a bout of acid reflux. Since the holidays are a time for catching up with family and friends, settle in and have a conversation, nibbling as you go. Holiday meals aren’t meant to be wolfed down so that you can get back to work or school. So sit back, relax, and savor your food.

Identify your triggers

Take time to keep a food journal so that you can identify and avoid your acid-reflux triggers. For example, if you know that garlic fires up the acids in your stomach, steer clear of any dish that smells of garlic. If you’re unsure of your triggers, we can provide you with a list of the usual suspects, which include:

A food diary with a list of triggers not only helps you during the holidays, but throughout the rest of the year as well.

Let your food settle

After a holiday meal, avoid activities that churn up the contents of your stomach. You’re with family and friends, so take the time to relax after meals or parties. Your acid reflux actually gives you a good excuse to settle back on the couch to catch up with your loved ones.

Indulge yourself with pillows

If you indulged your taste buds during the day, indulge your gastrointestinal tract while you sleep by keeping your head propped up with extra pillows. When you elevate your head, you prevent acids from climbing up your esophagus. This allows you to sleep better so that you’re able to continue the holiday fun the next day.

Keep medications handy

If your acid reflux is chronic, we thoroughly evaluate your symptoms and recommend certain medications and dosing instructions. Be sure to have plenty of these medications on hand over the holidays and ask about whether you should increase your medications if feasting is part of your holiday plan.

Just a little preplanning and vigilance lets you enjoy your holidays to the fullest by avoiding acid reflux flare-ups. If you have any questions or need to schedule a consultation, please contact us today by phone or online form.

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